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When America First Met China

Tea, drugs, fortune and the 19th century high seas. We’ll look back to the exotic history of when America first met China.

William John Huggins - The opium ships at Lintin, China.

William John Huggins – The opium ships at Lintin, China.

America and China look at each other today as the two giants of a massively globalizing world.  Each wondering what the future brings.  Some answers may lie in the past.  When China was the grand, troubled empire.  When America was the whipper-snapper upstart.

Sailing clipper ships halfway round the world for China’s tea and porcelain.  Bringing furs and opium.  Taking desperate human labor – “coolies.”  Kowtowing and bullying. Making fortunes, and a legacy.

This hour, On Point:  When America first met China.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Eric Jay Dolin, author of the new book When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail.

Michael Hunt,  Everett H. Emerson Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Excerpt: When America First Met China

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